The society of respected film critics that hands out the annual Gawad Urian in cinematic excellence

Reviews

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Noy: The Documentary and the Narrative at a Disjuncture that Works

By Gigi Javier Alfonso

Noy is a film well-directed by Dondon Santos and released by Star Cinema. Here is a film that is a documentary within a narrative. The contrast and the disjuncture of the two genres, that of the documentary for television with jerky and almost technically violent footage, and that of the melodramatic, sleek narrative meshed together. Its message is in its form. A narrative with its Act I, introduces the characters, Act II, the body with all the details of the characters, the conflict presented and climaxing with the brothers drug involvement and Act III, the resolution of either the death or the satisfying future of the protagonist.Read more

Noy: Panalo, Patalo: Sugal ng Buhay sa Kapalaran at Eleksyon

Ni Rolando B. Tolentino

May scoop ang pelikula: ang footage ng kampanya ni Nonoy Aquino sa pagkapangulo. Sa unang tingin, mukhang ginawa ang pelikula para sa kampanya ni Aquino. Mayroon din namang katatohanan dito. Ang katukayong Noy (Coco Martin) sa pelikula ay jologs na naghahangad ng quickie na solusyon sa buhay, tulad marahil nang napakaraming Filipino na linggo-linggong umaasa sa lotto at serbisyo sa simbahan, El Shaddai at iba pang mega-churches.

Pinalsipiko ang diploma at credentials, pumormang journalist sa kompanyang media na pagtratrabahuan at nagbakasakali na pumusta sa ikagaganda ng buhay. Sa huli, unang nadiskubre ang kanyang kawalang-alam sa pagiging journalist (na ipagtataka kung bakit siya napasok sa inner media circle ni Aquino), at malaon, ang dispalsipikadong credentials na magtatanggal sa kanya sa trabaho.Read more

Limbunan: Enigmatic movie of quiet strength

By Lito B. Zulueta

In Limbunan, a young Maguindanao girl engaged to be married undertakes an elaborate pre-nuptial ritual of cleansing and preparation. Betrothed to a man she hardly knows, 16-year-old Ayesah (Jea Lyka Cinco) tries to remain faithful to her culture and tradition. But her fidelity comes under quiet assault as she struggles with her feelings for a soldier, who may or may not be in love with her but who’s bound by the same strictures of Maguindanao culture. Since she has been betrothed to another man, he can only watch as she goes through the rigors of the rituals. He cannot reveal his feelings because such would only disturb the age-old tradition of a people so set on its old ways as a matter of survival and self-perpetuation. Read more

Limbunan: Kapag Binasag ng Babae ang Kanyang Katahimikan

Ni Benilda S. Santos

Higit pa marahil sa panitikan, ang pelikula ay imahen, talinghaga, metonimiya, o salaysaying biswal na maituturing na lunsaran ng mga alaalang nagmula sa kasaysayan, karanasan, matatandang kuwento, o kahit pa nga panaginip na itinutulak sa liwanag ng pagkakilala sa isang kawalan o kakulangang nais punan, o ng isang uri ng dominasyon o manipulasyon na pinagsisikapang harapin. Sa pelikula ng kababaihan, may isa pang bukal na pinagmumulan ang malikhain at mapuwersang pagbuhay sa imahinasyon, at iyan ay ang pagnanais na masilayan ang isa o ilang alternatibong larawan at salaysay ng buhay ng babae.

Tinutugunan ng Limbunan ni Gutierrez Mangansakan II ang pangangailangang iyan ng kababaihan, na mismong pangangailangan din ng pelikula sapagkat lagi nitong dapat na hangaring lampasan ang nakagawian, lalo na sa pagbubuo ng isang pananaw ng babae, o sa pagkakataong ito, ng isang paraan ng pagtingin sa tradisyonal na lipunang Muslim na kumikilala sa umiiral na mga puwang at guwang dito na uusbungan ng bagong paglikha.Read more

Halaw: Borders of death and darkness

By Lito B. Zulueta

IN SHERON Dayoc’s “Halaw,” a boatload of curious characters with their own private quests and ulterior purposes tries to cross the border between the Philippines and Malaysia. While they slowly make their way amid the waves and winds, their stories unhurriedly unfold, interweaving into an intricate whole that’s on one end is poignant, on the other sordid. When they reach their destination, they stealthily enter inland to avoid detection by border guards. In the depths of darkness, shots are fired, presumably by Malaysian sentinels; and we discover that the characters’ real stories have just begun—right at the point of death. From port of entry to port of destination, death is farewell and welcome.Read more

Halaw: Voyage of the Damned

By Mario A. Hernando

Sheron R. Dayoc’s Halaw Ways of the Sea, which he wrote and directed, isn’t so much about the sea but about the experience a group of contemporary boat people fleeing their homeland go through. The journey is from Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao to Malaysia, and on board are a motley set of characters who are seduced by unknown prospects in a strange land that is presumed to be more promising than home. The movie begins and ends with these travelers besieged by security forces in the country of their destination, warned and maybe shot at by the guards to drive them away. It is the dead of night.Read more

Chassis: The Mechanisms of Living and Dying Rated X

By Tito Genova Valiente

The ending of Adolf Borinaga Alix’s film Chassis will be talked about for days on end. There will be two sides to the debate always: is that the real thing or merely prosthetic? Feelings about the scene will always be two-pronged: you either like that ending or you hate it. Somewhere in the middle of those extreme responses to the film will straddle the question about the logic of the ending or, in a more utilitarian vein, the necessity of the final act.

Logic as a mechanism is almost absent from this narrative about a mother who tries to eke out a living when living is also nonexistent in the place where she and her daughter find themselves. What one finds in that place as sign of movement are the many container vans under which individuals manage to live, exposed to the elements, and breathing in the polluted gas coming from the vehicles.Read more

Chassis: Katawan at Bakal

Ni Benilda S. Santos

Nililikha at tinatahak ng malaya at alternatibong pelikula ang pabago-bagong espasyo na kakikitaan ng mararawal na larawan ng nagpapatuloy na buhay sa Ikatlong Daigdig, ng di-natitinag na pagkapigipit ng uring manggagawa, at ng madugong pakikibaka ng kababaihan upang makapamayani sa kanilang buhay. Sa landas na iyan matatagpuan ang pelikulang Chassis ni Adolfo Borinaga Alix, Jr. sa pagkatuklas niya ng posibilidad na igawa ng fiction ang hile-hilera ng mga container vans sa piyer upang sa pamamagitan nito, maisiwalat niya ang nagaganap sa buhay ng mga walang hanggahang matatawid—silang mga “hanggang pantalan” lamang—sa panahon pa naman ng crossing borders.Read more

Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Yelo: Kamatayan at Nihilismo bilang Tangkang Subersyon

Ni Rolando B. Tolentino

Trilohiya ang pelikula ni Mes De Guzman, kahit pa dalawa lamang ang tapos na: Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Bato at Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Yelo. Parehong papalubog sa kumunoy ng buhay at lipunan ang mga pelikula. Sa una, tinalakay ang pagkatuklas ng ginto sa isang lubluban ng kalabaw, at ang transformasyon ng pamilya tungo sa negosyong minero, gamit ang mga kapatid at kaedad nito bilang tagasisid para sa ginto. Sa huli, ang paghihiwalay ng magkapatid para manatili ang kuya sa kanyang troll at ang nakababatang kapatid para maging paslit na manggagawa sa pwesto ng yelo sa pantalan ng isda.

Walang mga magulang sa dalawang pelikula. Lumulubog ang kung anong labi ng pamilya sa pagitan ng kahirapan ng mas makapangyarihang buhay at ng kamatayan. Sa una, namatay sa sakit ang kuya, matapos ay ang natitirang magkapatid ay lumusong sa lubluban para hindi na muling umahon. Sa huling pelikula, naiwan sa storage ng yelo ang nakababatang kapatid, at pinack sa yelo ng kuya para paanurin at ilibing sa dagat.Read more

Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Yelo: Kalawang sa Bakal

Ni Mario A. Hernando

Naiiba ang mga pelikula ni Mes de Guzman. Sa iba’t ibang klase ng lugar nagaganap ang mga kwento, pero sa iisang bagay nakatuon ang kanyang interes—ang kalagayan ng mga batang maralita, mga paslit na hindi pa nakakahawak ng Playstation, kumakayod at kung mapalad ay nag-aaral para mabuhay.

Sa pangalawang ginawa ni De Guzman, ang Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong, pumunta siya sa kabundukan at kagubatan ng Cordilleras upang bisitahin at alamin ang kalagayan ng dalawang batang tinatahak ang malayo at masukal na landas mula sa tinitirhan hanggang sa paaralan, at sa pag-uwi. Sinundan niya ang Kalimugtong ng dalawa sa trilohiyang pelikula na pinamagatang Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Bato (ang ikatlo’y hindi pa naisasapelikula). Ito’y nagaganap sa isa pa ring napakalayo at bulubunduking lugar—sa Nueva Vizcaya naman, tungkol sa mga batang sinisisid ang kaputikang parang lawa upang makakuha ng maliliit na bakal o bato na maipagbibili.Read more

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